Nicholas Hoult Will Play J.D. Salinger In New Film, But Will We Ever Get To See A Big Screen Holden Caulfield?
Forget a superhero mutant: Nicholas Hoult's new role may be even more iconic than his "Beast-ly" part in the X-Men franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoult will play J.D. Salinger in an upcoming drama about the life of the Catcher In The Rye author. The film, titled Rebel In The Rye, is based on Kenneth Slawenski biography, J.D. Salinger: A Life, and will focus on the author's life during his time working on his most famous novel. But, while the film may be about Catcher In The Rye as a novel, we still haven't seen a film version of what is arguably Salinger's most important work: Hoult would have made an excellent Holden Caulfield, so why isn't that film adaptation happening? Surprisingly, it has a lot to do with the man that Hoult is playing onscreen this time around.
Hollywood has always been fascinated by The Catcher In The Rye: the 1951 novel captured teen angst in a way that even the WB during the early 2000s couldn't touch. The high school reading list favorite seems like an obvious choice for a film adaptation, but Salinger didn't think that his work could be translated to the big screen and refused to sell the rights to any interested party. According to a letter that Salinger penned to Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe, the author didn't believe that it was possible to get the necessary performances from actors. In fact, according to Salinger's former partner Joyce Maynard, Salinger felt that the only person worthy of the role of Holden was, well, Salinger himself — after all, he was the only person to truly be inside of Holden's head.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Hollywood has given up on telling Salinger's stories: they just have to get a bit more creative. It seems that the film industry has found a way to inject a bit of Holden into their work by casting an actor to play Salinger himself. Salinger may not be Holden, but he's certainly the closest person to him. Rebel In The Rye will dive into Salinger during his Catcher In The Rye days, which will give audiences an intimate look at the psyche of the man creating this iconic character. We may not meet Holden onscreen in the traditional sense, but, in a way, we don't have to: we'll see Holden's journey the way Salinger originally created it.
We might never get a Catcher In The Rye adaptation, but here's hoping that Hoult's performance as Salinger gives us a glimpse at Holden.